The city of Portsmouth went down in the books on Saturday when hundreds of people lined Chillicothe Street and successfully broke a world record.
With a representative from Guinness Book of World Records on site to officiate, the record for most people plants potted simultaneously was broken with 1,405 participants, knocking out the previous record of 500. The attempt was just one part of the Plant Portsmouth event, organized by The Friends of Portsmouth group and Chairperson Jeremy Burnside.
The event sought to bring together hometown proud individuals who wanted to put Portsmouth on the map as a city that was taking a step in the right direction, and wanted to change the conversation about the area. The event brought in over 500 volunteers to assist in a giant cleanup effort of Chillicothe and Market Streets, which came together to paint light posts, power wash business fronts and sidewalks, and staining brick, among other projects.
With the overwhelming support of the event from local businesses, Plant Portsmouth raised $75,000 to go towards beautification efforts, while ticket sales from volunteers launched them over the $100,000 mark. Additionally, a new group of the first ever Town Ambassadors were introduced who will make it their mission to see that Portsmouth continues on the right path.
At the opening of the event as those taking park in the record breaking attempt lined both sides of Chillicothe Street, several notable figures of the community expressed their support of Plant Portsmouth. Former Portsmouth Mayor Frank Gerlach welcomed participants, while Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Marie Hoover led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Star Spangled Banner was performed by the Portsmouth Band Director, and Pastor Darrell Nickels of Life Point led the prayer. Current Acting Mayor Kevin E. Johnson addressed event goers and said this was a turning point for the city. “People coming together for the good of the city, all walks of life. Sponsoring, volunteering. Look at the person beside you and say thank you,” Johnson said. “Give your neighbor a round of applause. We are a city of resolve. The city cannot do all that we need without you. Today you’ve put in your application and you are hired! We want you. We will remember that it started here today. We are sparking a fire, and the torch is being passed on.”
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis, who according to Burnside also had a hand in making the event possible, reminded those of the impact of what they were taking part in. “There will be no more negativity about our city. Remind them what we did on August 18, 2018. Remind them what we did today together,” Davis said. “It’s about unity, pride and community.”
In the last speech before the attempt was made, Burnside said that it was time to take matters into our own hands to help out the city. “It’s because our city needed us. Our leaders needed us,” said Burnside. Burnside also extended his thanks to all those who came together to make the event possible, such as city manager Sam Sutherland and Jack Tackett.
After the attempt was successfully completed, the crowds gathered for a live performance by local country music artist Shane Runyon who filmed crowd shots of the event for his new music video.
At the conclusion of the event, an awards ceremony was held at Tracy Park.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932